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Camping Sycamore Campground

Hurrah! A successful camping trip to Sycamore Campground, Point Mugu: the first of many I hope. We saw dolphins in the green-gray ocean and a mother and father bird feeding insects to their brood in a tree hole just above our eating area. We bushwhacked our way through a jungle of mustard to find an overgrown trail that took us to an ocean vista. We wet our feet, or in the case of the children their entire bodies, in the frigid pacific, and built sand castles. We ate the simplest of meals and had great fellowship with all the families that went. We're definitely doing this again.

Five families from church all decided back in November to reserve spots for camping this May, and none of us had ever attempted tent camping with our children. Between the five of us, there were thirteen kids, so the little ones all ran around like wild squirrels. The Villas set up a "play tent" where much giggling and rough-housing occurred. Sometimes the children rode each other's bikes. Sometimes they climbed in the trees or tromped through the understory. Sometimes they played hide and seek. And sometimes they mooched food off others.

Sycamore Canyon is aptly named because of the massive sycamore trees surrounding the campground. These served as a playground. Several boys, including Lee & Dietrich, climbed high enough to make their mamas nervous.

Kanon, Rose, Zion, Lee, Addie, and Levi on our natural jungle gym.
So many kids!
We were very appreciative of Richard Villa's bike-fixing-air-mattress-filling-skills as we set up camp. Most of the first day was spent figuring out our tents and deciding how to cook our dinners. Powerful gusts of wind made this particularly tricky. In the later evening the wind died down, and around 9 pm the campground quieted for the night. The adults chatted for a bit around the fire before we retiring to sound of the waves crashing on the beach. Phil and I had the best night's sleep we've ever had camping because of the air mattress he borrowed from a co-worker. I think we'll have to invest in one of these. And Benny only woke once for his usual feeding.

Rose and Lee climbing
The next morning was our hike: an almost two mile loop on a small footpath to a beautiful view. The hills were green and fresh and blooming with lupin and California daisies and mustard and monkey flowers and wild roses. Phil carried Benny who slept in the carrier and I carried the map to lead the way. 

Rose, Lee, Richard, Addie, Phil, Benny, Tai, Eric, Max, and myself at our lookout location.
Rose said her highlight was running in the waves with her friend, NaYoung. They chased and were chased by the waves while Phil and Lee made sand castles. I sat on the sand with Benny and chatted with Josie Oldenburg about psychology. Benny squeezed the sand in his little fists and practiced cruising on our beach chairs.

Phil and Lee build a city of sand. Rose chases the waves in the background.
We ate well and brought plenty of yummy, easy food including sugary cereals, hot dogs,  avocado tacos, cliff bars, cans of soup put right on the grill, and smores made with dark chocolate. We enjoyed the soft strum of the guitar from the Villa's camp in the quiet of our afternoon. And almost everyone doted on Benny. 
Rose, NaYoung, Addie & Lucy gathering around Benny because he was so cute.
Benny was so content during the trip and loved all the people doting on him.
The weather report for Sunday said rain was imminent, so we packed under a light sprinkle. Phil proudly showed me the artful knots he'd made to secure our tarp bundle to the car's roof rack. We ate our dinners together around the fire and after smores, we headed out about 6:30 pm. We tucked the little sleepers into their beds by 8:30 before hopping into the shower ourselves. I enjoyed scrubbing all three children in their baths the next day.

Other highlights included: coming through the tunnel where the 10 freeway meets the 1 and seeing the ocean for the first time, LA's sparkling lights on the drive home, Dietrich enjoying holding Benny, Jewish Nation hot dogs, heating our kettle on Phil's Biolite stove, the Oldenburg's sharing their fire logs with us, Benny learned to whistle, Benny eating his applesauce while entertaining a small crowd of onlookers with his funny baby noises, tall towers of Yucca blooms, little rabbits that look like Bigwig, kids eating their entire candy supplies on the car ride there, perfect weather on Saturday, cups of hot tea, feeling sun-baked and wind-blown and gritty but happy.

I'm putting my packing list here for future reference.

-2 Tents
-4 sleeping bags 
-4 insulate pads
- pillows

-diapers, cream, powder, changing pad
-baby carrier
-Pack and Play with sheet and safety pins
-High Chair w/ bib
-Sun hat
-nursing cover
-bottle & formula
-Umbrella Stroller

Eating: put items in a box
-kitchen towels
-prep table 
-Big water Jug
-Water Bottles
-Paper plates
-Hot items mugs
-Utensils and sharp knives
-Hot water kettle
-table cloth
-cutting mat
-dish soap
-Aluminum foil
-Trash bags
-Ice Chest w/ Dry Ice 

-Fire Tongs
-Camp Chairs
-Bio-lite stove
-Lantern Fuel & Mantels
-AAA batteries

Personal items
-bug repellent 
-baby powder to get sand off
-Cash for showers
-Phones and chargers

-Kids bikes
-Tire pump
-Beach towels
-Beach toys
-First Aid Kit
-Beach Blanket
-Playing cards

-Rain boots
-Bathroom Bags
-Stick Sunscreen 
-kid’s markers & Chalk


Robin said…
What a wonderful camping trip! I agree, it's really nice to do with other families for all the reasons you described. What a lovely place. I'm so glad you had such a good first experience! :-) A. Robin

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